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Bible Commentaries

Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

Matthew 28

Verse 1

28:1 The particular time at which the 24-hour period was supposed to start has been a disputed point, and that is because no absolute and universal rule was observed by all people. According to this verse the period began in the morning. Thayer defines began to dawn to mean, "To grow light, to dawn." And. Mar 16:2 refers to the same event as being "at the rising of the sun," all of which indicates that at least in some cases the 24-hour day was from sunrise to sunrise. However, we should not overlook that it was after the sabbath was past for the text says end of the sab-bath which Thayer defines, "the sab-bath having just past." The two Marys were the same as those mentioned in Mat 27:61; Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jesus.

Verse 2

28:2 There was a great earthquake. The marginal renders it "had been," which is correct, for Mar 16:4 says that when the women arrived at the tomb they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. The angel was not afraid to break the seal that the Jews had caused to be placed upon the tomb, for he did not flee but rather remained and sat upon the stone.

Verse 3

28:3 Lightning is very bright and penetrating and a fitting comparison for the counterance of an angel. Snow-whiteness is an emblem of purity and well represents the kind of being who would come down from heaven.

Verse 4

28:4 The keepers were the members of the watch who were stationed there to see that no person would disturb the tomb. When this angel ignored the entire setup and removed the stone it was a great surprise to the watchers who were soldiers. No wonder it filled them with fear and trembling and rendered them helpless.

Verse 5

28:5 As far as the text shows, the angel paid no attention to the members of the watch, but he addressed encouraging words to the women. Being on a mission from heaven he was endowed with the information that would be useful in his work. By this he was aware of the purpose of the women who appeared at this time.

Verse 6

28:6 Not only had Jesus risen, but he had left the scenes of the tomb. As a visual evidence of the Lord's resurrection, the women were invited to come and see the place where he bad lain.

Verse 7

28:7 After a look at the empty tomb they were bidden to go qiuckly and tell the good news to the disciples. They were later to see Jesus in Galilee, the district where he had lived until he was ready for his public ministry.

Verse 8

28:8 The fear of these women was the same as profound respect, and the great joy was caused by the wonderful fact that their Lord was alive again. Their joy would not let them be selfish, but they went running to bring the word to the disciples.

Verse 9

28:9 Jesus had left the tomb before the women arrived, and as they were leaving he met theme and gave them a joyous greeting. The reader should see the note on the subject of "worship" at chapter 2:2 and note the various shades of meaning of the word. In our present verse the only outward demonstration indicated was their grasping the feet of the Lord. This act of respectful condescension could very properly be called one of worship and is included in the definition of the word.

Verse 10

8:10 This is the same message the angel gave the women at the tomb. Christ's brethren means his disciples (Joh 20:17-18), and they were promised to be met by him in his home country of Galilee.

Verse 11

8:11 Some of the watch means the men who had been on duty at the tomb. They doubtless did their duty in seeing that no man disturbed the tomb, but they were powerless to prevent what the angel did. As faithful watchmen they made a true report of what had transpired. However, this was before they had been approached on the bribery proposition and agreed to make the foolish statement mentioned above.

Verse 12

8:12 Gave the money unto the soldiers means the men who had been appointed to guard the grave from disturbance by the disciples.

Verse 13

8:13 The absence of the body of Jesus from the tomb could not be denied, hence the story of stealing it was made up to account for the empty tomb. There are at least two weak points in this story. If they were asleep they could not know what was going on; also, such a lack of faithfulness as watchers was punishable by death and they would not likely have risked it. But money will do wonders and it seems to have had its effect on these soldiers.

Verse 14

8:14 Thayer says to persuade means "to win one's good will." Pilate was a wavering sort of governor as had been shown in this case, and they felt sure they could influence him to let the soldiers off without punishment. Another thing, they said if this come to the governor's ears; there is no proof that he ever heard the report.

Verse 15

8:15 This foolish report was circulated among the Jews which is very significant. They were the ones who wanted to believe it and pretended to do so. There is no account of any knowledge of it among the people in general.

Verse 16

8:16 The women were told by the angel (verse 7) to give the disciples the word, and in verse 10 Jesus gave them the same message. Hence this verse reports the journey to Galilee, the very mountain spot for the meeting having been designated. Eleven disciples were in the group because Judas had taken his own life before the crucifixion of his Lord (Mat 27:5).

Verse 17

8:17 All we can say of this worship is that what they did comes within the definition of the word as given at chapter 2:2. Thayer defines the original of doubt, "to doubt, to waver." It indicates a frame of mind that might be expressed by a familiar saying, "it is too good to be true."

Verse 18

8:18 In the Authorized Version the word "power" comes from two Greek words, with only a few exceptions, which are DUNAMIS and EXOUSIA. There is a partial blending of these words in their meaning so that they are used somewhat interchangeably, but each has its main or proper meaning. According to Thayer the first word means, "strength, ability, power; inherent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature." He defines the second word, "power of choice, liberty of doing as one pleases; leave or permission." For convenience the first may be defined as "personal strength or ability," the second as, "the right or privilege bestowed on one." The word in this verse is EXOUSIA, which means that God be-stewed upon Christ full right to rule over his kingdom.

Verse 19

8:19 Teach is from MATHETEUO and is defined by Thayer, "to make a disciple; to teach, instruct." Its main application is to bring persons into a relationship with Christ that they never had before. All nations is equiva lent to "every creature" in Mar 16:15. The Mosiac system was given to the Jews only, while the Gospel was given to both Jew and Gentile. To do this teaching among all nations would require ability to speak in every language, and none but the apostles had that ability. It is a perversion of scripture, therefore, to apply this commission to preachers of today. In is from EIS which means "into" as used here. The Father, Son and Holy Ghost are a unit in the Godhead and hence "name" is singular. Whoever is baptized into one is baptized into all three, therefore one baptism is all that is necessary and right. The scripture in no place presents this as a formula to be spoken by the administrator of baptism, and when he says these words he is merely announcing to the hearers what he is doing.

Verse 20

8:20 Teaching is from DIDASKO and means to instruct in general. The ones to be instructed were those that Christ had commanded. In order that no mistake would be made, the Comforter (Holy Spirit) was to be sent to "bring all things to their remembrance" (Joh 14:26). I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. The .authority of the apostles was to be in force to the end of the world. Christ is not with them in person any more than he is with all Christians in person. But the words of the apostles are written in the New Testament and they are as binding on us now as if they were here in person and as if Jesus also had remained on earth in person. So there can be no successors to the apostles in this world because they are still in their own proper place of authority under Christ and will be until the end.
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Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Matthew 28". Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/znt/matthew-28.html. 1952.